— Under pressure
— More televised non-disclosure
In COO Simon Moutter's words, Telecom's second quarter 2008 figures are "uninspiring". While Moutter is perhaps right to blame some of the sluggish business on regulation, it's worth noting that Telecom made over half a billion dollars on the local service — which is regulated.
That's easily the biggest earner in New Zealand, and it's hard to see what will replace it, should local service be freed up to competition.
In fact, can Telecom compete in any area where there is competition? It is making money out of the Southern Cross Cable hand over fist because... it has no competition there. There's some feeble competition in the mobile area, and that's been enough to put a dent in Telecom's revenues for that business.
Good to see that broadband is starting to earn Telecom money, ditto wholesale and IT services. Australia's on the mend too, but still not out of the woods.
Will that be enough though? That's far from sure. CEO Paul Reynolds will have to muster a massive charm offensive to win customers' hearts and minds, because there is a sizeable "ABT" (Anything But Telecom, as coined by COO Moutter) crowd out there, waiting for alternatives no matter what they are. The next set of results will tell the story.
More televised non-disclosure
It's good to see that television is dipping its toes into techie waters, like TV3 does with its segment featuring Steve Simms as the Gadget Guy.
Are the waters perhaps a little bit murky over at Flower Street though?
This week, Steve was talking about wi-fi stuff, featuring some nifty looking routers from D-Link. He also happened to mention a New Zealand company called Tomizone that D-Link's partnering with.
That's interesting stuff, but who is behind Tomizone?
Step forward, Steve "Gadget Guy" Simms, CEO of Tomizone!
Would that little disclosure not have been in order, TV3? Or is this some sort of stealth infomercial experiment?
Robert X Cringely
What's worse, MicroHoo or YaGoogle?
So it seems Google may be trying to stave off the shotgun wedding between Microsoft and Yahoo, showing up at Yahoo's window with a ladder and a bus ticket. Google itself can't make a competitive offer — even our current "monopolies are good for capitalism" DoJ can't stand by idly for that. But G-man Eric Schmidt has been making noises about finding other suitors who'd be more, well, suitable to Yahoo, or offering a deal where Yahoo gets to eat a slice of Google's massive advertising pie. Or simply taking the fight to the Feds, as Microsoft tried to do when Google snarfled up DoubleClick last year. I don't think anything Google does will sway regulators or Yahoo's investors, who can recognise a sinking ship when they see one. When you're going down for the third time, even a garbage scow looks like the Queen Mary. Or maybe just the Titanic. I'm not alone in thinking MicroHoo is heading for an iceberg. Cringester (and well-known security wonk) RS opines: "Everyone seems to think that Microsoft should be going after the ad space. Why? They are a software company. They write massive code for PCs, phones, and game systems. They make pretty good money at it from what I can see. Why go after the ad space when Google is going after the OS and the software? MSFT should circle the wagons, figure out what is going on in the world and execute!" Or maybe just be executed. Cringe fan SC believes trying to integrate YHOO will cause Microsoft to implode. "This bid is the beginning of the end for Microsoft as we know it... Eventually, Microsoft will have to actually integrate its OS ideals with a UNIX type of makeover, and there will be ONE operating system in the near future that will run underneath everything." A single open OS would be nice; but does it have to be one (or ONE) from Microsoft? Meanwhile as this soap opera unfolds, MS is sending Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing. Consumers should see it some time in March. But don't break out the party hats and noisemakers just yet; apparently SP1 will still have problems working with older hardware due to driver issues. The question then becomes if we'll ever see a Service Pack 2 to fix the stuff SP1 missed. Do you think Microsoft will be able to do anything — let alone fix its broken OS — while it's wrestling with Google over Yahoo? I don't. 2008 will prove to be a good time to be a Microsoft competitor, and an even worse than usual time to be a Microsoft customer.